The story entering Sunday afternoon wasn’t about who was racing, but instead who wasn’t. That changed once the green flag waved.
Sure, everyone knew that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was not at the track, but that focus quickly shifted to who was. Drivers like Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and others quickly took the attention. As the afternoon continued, even more names came to the front of the conversation, and it wasn’t exactly clear who could be the favorite to win.
Even one of the favorites, who dominated the second half of New Hampshire, fell by the side due to equipment failure, but still finished.
Instead, it was the one who won the previous race at this track that took the lead, and held it to the end. That man already took a win at another track one-mile in length, and now adds another to his list. Matt Kenseth took the lead with just over 30 laps remaining and never looked back. Through restart, after restart, he kept it smooth, and stayed focused. Two wins, six bonus points, and a higher spot in the Chase officially locked in.
That win, surprisingly, did not give a writer a victory in the League. Although many did end up with strong runs. Here’s the standings after Sunday’s New Hampshire 301:
Ashley McCubbin (606) Kyle Busch finished 8th – 2
Ashley Hull (589) Denny Hamlin finished 9th – 8
Sal Sigala Jr. (581) Kevin Harvick finished 4th – 2
Patti Rodisch (564) Kyle Busch finished 8th – 3
Dustin Parks (546) Kurt Busch finished 22nd – 1
Rob Blount (543) Joey Logano finished 3rd – 4
Klarissa Mitchell (509) Denny Hamlin finished 9th – 1
Billy Fellin (498) Ryan Newman finished 7th – 2
Mary Jo Buchanan (494) Martin Truex Jr. finished 16th – 3
Rob Tiongson (485) Ryan Blaney finished 11th – 2
Misan Akuya (472) Tony Stewart finished 2nd – 3
Ashley Hobbs (442) Kurt Busch finished 22nd – 2
Stephen Conley (410) Martin Truex Jr. finished 16th – 1
Kara Martin (409) NO PICK SENT – 1
Next Race: The next track on the schedule may not be one that has been on the schedule the longest, but it didn’t take long to become one of the crown jewel events each year. Right when one walks through the entrance, every ounce of racing history comes to the forefront. Although the history of stock cars at this track is young, just over 20 years old, it quickly was welcomed.
This year marks the 2oth anniversary of what has become one of the most unique traditions in all of sports, one that has since been done after it’s most historic race.
Now, NASCAR is back at the place that is considered the most historic speedway in all the country. It only needs one name to remember it by…Indy. NASCAR is back at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the honor of “Kissing The Bricks” began on a whim, but has since included the crews, team owners, and even family members.
Writers, you won’t kiss bricks, but at the very least have those picks locked in by Thursday, July 21, at 10 p.m. ET for the Crown Royal Presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400.